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Monday, August 25, 2008


by David Chorlton

The day we had tickets for baseball
temperatures reached one hundred and eight.
We had one unopened bottle of mineral water,
clear and sparkling with an orange essence.
You can’t bring that in here the security guard said it’s flavoured
so we grumbled and tried the next gate down.
Same reaction. It's just water we shouted.
It's flavoured the guard replied you can’t bring flavours in.
So I said something beginning What the fuck is wrong . . .
while my wife unscrewed the top
and we sprayed a little on the security shoes
which brought the Sheriff’s officers to escort us
from the property. It wasn’t so much the dollar twenty-five
for the bottle but the apparatus that hurt.
Somebody makes up these rules
in an office, deciding what is water and how
to make the ball park safer for concessions.
We walked to the station to catch the bus home,
past the homeless nobody has managed yet to wash away,
with fans streaming in the other direction
arriving too late for the national anthem.
O say can you see in the fine print on the label
that there’s flavour here? Can you bottle freedom?
We’re climbing down from the tip of the iceberg
through rules and the sterility
surrounding us. When the sports anchor says
Arizona Diamondbacks win six to three that’s the only
true part of the news. The rest is there to deflect us
from war and what it costs, to pretend
fund raising is the same as a democratic election, to glorify
the military and demean immigrants, to sell
stool softener and tell us the side effects of medications.
You don’t need television when you ride the bus
to see who’s falling lower than the minimum wage.
We rode the short way home, connecting the dots
from our T-shirts all the way to China, lamenting
corporate control with the way everybody is just
taking it and we hadn’t even started to consider
the environment. Exploitation, destruction, invasions,
missile shield: why get upset? After all it was only a bottle of water.

David Chorlton's interests include birds, sport (specifically European football) as a means to understand society, very old music, and the passage of people between cultures. Origami Condom published his online chapbook Dry Heat and another new group of poems is available as Border Sky at